Islington Council to clamp down on ‘chugger’ fundraisers
PUBLISHED: 14:29 05 December 2011
»Town hall bosses are seeking a tighter grip on street fundraisers – sometimes nicknamed “chuggers” – after claims residents are feeling harassed and intimidated by them.
Islington Council wants to cap the numbers operating in busy pedestrian areas such as the Angel, Islington, and Highbury Corner.
The move comes after opposition councillors said residents feel “harassed or intimidated” by their pushy sales techniques – with some following people or blocking them from passing – as well as the sheer numbers.
Cllr Susan Buchanan, Liberal Democrat member for St Mary’s ward, added: “Nobody is against the work of the charities, but residents complain that it is impossible to pass Upper Street without being pestered by agency chuggers every day.
“When people are feeling the squeeze financially many residents do not appreciate this kind of pressure on their way to and from work.”
The council has gone to the industry watchdog, the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA) which allocates the fundraising sites to charities, and hopes to thrash out a new agreement on when, where and how many “chuggers” can take to Islington’s streets.
Cllr Paul Convery, the council’s executive member for planning, said: “Charities do a great job helping the most vulnerable, but having so many fundraisers on the pavement at the same time can be a nuisance.
“We are calling on the government to allow us to control charity canvassers, in addition to approaching the PFRA to agree a limit.”
The PFRA says there are already strict rules against pushy fundraising, while it currently allows a maximum of six fundraisers to visit the Angel end of Upper Street four days per week and five can visit Highbury Corner three days a week.
Dr Toby Ganley, head of policy at the PFRA, said: “The vast majority of people give to charity only because they are asked to do so by a fundraiser.
“We can negotiate with Islington to balance the rights of charities to ask the public to support them with the rights of people not to be put under undue pressure.”